This one got a lot more interesting (from our perspective of covering sports media) because ESPN radio and television personality Dan LeBatard then took Steele opening the door to comment on his fellow ESPN on-air personality. (h/t to Miami Slice for making us aware of the comments).
LeBatard talked about an internal memo that he wasn’t going to read but which put limits on talking about all the immigration discussion over the weekend and how employees were to talk about it. Here he is discussing the memo:
Then, he went off on Sage Steele’s social media account usage to complain about the protests. After reading her Instagram post on-air, he said:
"“The genie’s out of the bottle on this because we all have our own Twitter accounts and we all have our social media on this. And this is what ESPN is trying to prevent, Stugotz, because once one person does it, it opens the floodgates for the rest of us because of course, I, as the son of exiles, look at this and I’m like “what the hell are you talking about, your travel plans were affected? What are you talking about?” It’s the height of privilege. And so once you start opening that portal, you get ESPN on ESPN crime. You get all this stuff that ESPN doesn’t want to have as people think of ESPN as liberal leaning. But you can’t give this a voice and then muzzle the rest of us."
Here’s the video of his comments:
It will be interesting to see where this goes because LeBatard is willing to push lines, and has a point about limiting one type of speech and not the other.
My thoughts on Steele’s original message are thusly:
a) the purpose of protest is to be noticed. The least effective form of protest would be holding a sign in a big field and yelling at clouds;
b) that often takes the form of inconveniencing other citizens, many of whom aren’t directly and overtly involved in the reason for protest, (though they may be part of the underlying roots) and this is true regardless of the nature and political spectrum of the protest. Don’t delay my flight. I just want to get to the counter to order, too (for sit-ins). I just need basic health care and am not here for an abortion (for pro-life demonstrations). I’ve been delayed in traffic recently by a Fred Phelps protest demonstration and a Trump supporter demonstration pre-election on a bridge overpass in my community.
c) people tend to complain about the form of the protest when they disagree with the substance of it, and are more tolerant of being inconvenienced when they agree with it. I don’t think I’m talking rocket science here.
LeBatard is basically taking the position that her complaint is just as much a form of political commentary as him speaking out as the son of an exile, and he’s not wrong.